CHEM00020 Introductory Chemistry

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module introduces to first-year agricultural and veterinary nursing students the basic principles of chemistry and how this central scientific discipline applies to different fields of agriculture, including food science, farming, aquaculture, forestry and veterinary science. Topics include the structure of the atom and molecules, understanding and measuring physical properties including mass, volume and density. A discussion of the first experiments that helped identify parts of the atom and how these components combine to build molecules. The concept of ionic and covalent bonding is demonstrated, in addition to the principles of chemical reactions. Students learn how to correctly balance chemical equations, applying the concept of limiting reagents, and calculate molecular mass, molarity and concentrations. There is an introduction to the different phases of matter and the idea of inter-molecular forces and how the type and strength of these forces are related to gases, liquids and solids. Students learn about the concept of gases, including the ideal gas law. A detailed section is provided on the roles of acids and bases in food science. The course finishes with an examination of energy and thermodynamics. Due to the strong association of agriculture and nature, several key environmental concepts are covered, including reactions in the atmosphere and how the water cycle operates. The content of the course is delivered through on campus lectures. There are 4 experiments to be completed with topics based on concepts discussed in the lectures. Continuous assessment consists of 8 online quiz completed on Brightspace, and 4 in-class quizzes written in the in-class tutorials.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Students will learn how to write and balance chemical equations containing molecules and or ions. They learn about inter-molecular forces and understand the ideal gas law. They will be the calculate the pH of solutions and foods, and predict what compounds are readily oxidised or reduced. Students will be able to solve basic energy and thermodynamic problems and become aware of agriculturally related environmental issues associated with the atmosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere. A combination of in class and online tutorials will assist in the developing techniques for problem-solving and establish theoretical concepts to real-world problems. Moreover, four practical laboratory sessions demonstrate how standard chemistry methods can be applied to identify the composition of common agricultural materials, including fertiliser.

Indicative Module Content:

The scientific process. Exponents and Units. Properties and measurements of matter. Mass, volume and density. Concept of mater, elements and molecules. Structure of atoms, and underlying discovery experiments. The periodic table and its groups. Elements and groups. Electron configurations, cations and anions. Electrochemical cells. Ionic equations, covalent bonding, electron counting in bonds. Drawing Lewis (dot diagrams) structures, chemical naming and chemical formulas. The concept of the mole in chemistry. Balancing chemical equations, limiting reagents, molecular mass, molarity and concentrations. Intermolecular forces, hydrogen bonding, relationships to solids, liquids and gases. Dipoles and electronegativity. Changes of state between different forms of matter. The kinetic theory of gases, Boyle's and Charles' Laws, gases and the mole. The ideal gas equation. The concept of acids and bases, Bronstead and Lowry, Arrhenius definitions. Neutralisation, titration and buffers. Acid-base reactions, conjugate acids and bases. The problem of acid rain. Basic and acid anhydrides. The concept of redox, reduction and oxidation. How to determine oxidation numbers, writing out redox and half-reaction equations. Electrochemistry, batteries and electrochemical cells. Energy, units and differences between kinetic and potential. The first and second laws of thermodynamics. Exo- and endo-thermic reactions. Calculating the energy association in chemical reactions. The problem of fossil fuels, global warming and CO2. Obtaining "green and sustainable" energy from solar, wind, water, and biomass sources. Concept of ppm and ppb, sources of pollution. The water cycle, treatment of drinking water, cleaning water from waste, nitrogen cycle and agriculture.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours






Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning


Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures are given face to face on campus but will also be available through lecture capture and thus can be accessed any time post live lecture. Students are required to complete all 8 online tutorials through Brightspace with a deadline of one week. A series of example problems related to online quizzes are available on Brightspace. Learning is supplemented by 4 face-to-face tutorials where the tutor covers a selection of sample questions related to the final exam. Each student needs to write a short quiz at the end of each tutorial. There are 4 practical experiments to be completed in the School of Chemistry undergraduate laboratories and allows students to perform chemical analysis on agricultural-related materials. A final 2-hour exam (a combination of MCQ and fill-in-the-blank calculation problems) is based on all material given through the trimester. The exam may be written in person or held online, and the decision is to be communicated during the trimester. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
BIOC00010 - Chemistry-Biochemistry, CHEM00010 - Introductory Chemistry, CHEM10030 - Chemistry for Engineers, CHEM10130 - Applied Intro. & Phys Chem

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Eight online tutorials completed through Brightspace. Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Lab Report: Assessment based on (2 experiments) laboratory practice, sample quality and data reporting. Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Examination: Final Examination (Combination of MCQ and fill-in the blank calculations) completed on Brightspace. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Continuous Assessment: In class tutorial on problems associated with the lectures Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Individual feedback on student progress is provided through tutorial quizzes laboratory reports. Wrong answers entered on the online tutorials is provided online. Sample problems are worked through in the in-class tutorials with direct feedback provided.

Chemistry For Changing Times by John W. Hill, Terry W. McCreary, Doris K. Kolb. Pearson; 14 edition (28 Mar. 2016).
Name Role
Assoc Professor Anthony Cronin Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Leila Negahdar Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor James Sullivan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer